COVID Response: The Canucks are the only team whose COVID-related job cut was defensible, as they told anthem singer Mark Donnelly to take a hike over his plans to perform at an anti-mask rally.
Staying Away: Micheal Ferland won’t be ready for the start of the season as he continues to struggle to recover from a concussion. Ferland was first injured in December 2019, but returned to play in the playoffs. In his second game back, Ferland lasted only four shifts, and wound up leaving the Edmonton bubble.
Oh, He’s Here Now? Getting Nate Schmidt from Vegas for a third-round pick was excellent work as opposed to going out on a free agent market where, well, you saw what the Flames gave to Chris Tanev, and Vancouver basically replaced him with a PTO for Travis Hamonic. As well as Thatcher Demko played in the bubble, the Canucks signed Braden Holtby, but unlike some other teams who played the goalie market this offseason, Vancouver got its man on a two-year deal and a reasonable $4.3 million cap hit — so if Demko outplays him, it won’t be a huge misallocation of resources to let the younger, cheaper guy play.
Where’d He Go? It would’ve been nice to hang on to Tyler Toffoli after giving up so much to get him in February, but so it goes, Toffoli wound up in Montreal. That’s what happens when you have, say, a $6 million cap hit for a third-pair defenseman on your roster with Tyler Myers. The Canucks are probably just fine with Tanev, Jacob Markstrom, and Josh Leivo all going to Calgary.
What To Expect: There’s an issue with defensive depth, but there still should be enough here for the Canucks to make the playoffs, and once they’re there, they have the goaltending to make some noise. Actually, writing those words, the idea of a Toronto-Vancouver series is scintillating. Let’s go ahead and speak that into existence.
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